At the Daily Skier we happened to believe that the best way of promoting skiing – is getting more people to watch it.
In that spirit the visit to the inaugural Galtür Nordic Night Race was organized. And here are the impressions
If you do it – do it right. Paznaun valley where Galtür is located, is one fancy place, seeing steady influx of well-heeled downhill skiers throughout the winter season. ( ” We don’t need to advertize or share profits with online booking systems – we are more than 85% full most of the time” opens up a proprietor of one of the Galtür hotels). How is it relevant to cross country skiing? Well, directly – to bring/lay the snow at the town center, to organize a proper, professional TV broadcast of the event and to offer some 8000 Euros in prize money – not every place even in the Alps could pull that out. Kudos to Galtür ! And a great example of how it’s organized right to the others.
Applauding the local “city fathers” for their forward thinking. The XC skiing in on upswing – especially, when the winter arrives early like it did this season – more and more people want to have to chance to ski on narrow skis.
It’s not like Paznaun/Galtür ever lacked in quality “langlauf ski loipe”, but the buzz is simply not there – xcskiers flock to nearby Seefeld and Livigno, where you could ski on World Cup tracks – and rub shoulders with the pro-skiers. Who is not vain enough to drop casually that he was skiing alongside some national team guys today?. These things matter – not for all, but for many.
Speaking of the stars at the Galtür Nordic Night Race – with names like Maciej Starega ( 8th in sprint in Lahti-2017) and Paal Aune ( 8th at the Dresden WC city sprint) taking part, it certainly did not feel like a local event. Again, well done organizers – bringing elite skiers to your event is actually a lot more complicated than it sounds.
City sprints are much fun to watch. For their speed – and, dare we say, unpredictability? Just ask Irina Kovalenko, a Russian Cup winner who came to Galtür as favorite to win – but was scythed ( for the lack of better word) by an opponent in the finals. Sorry, Irina – it was unintentional, we are quite sure.
As is, recently crowned Austrian champ Lisa Unterweger and Norwegian international Paal Aune took home 1500 Euros each in prize money – and great memories, one hopes.
And you know what? Anybody – that is, any skier. literally – had a chance to test her/his prowess against Unterweger and Aune on the streets of the buculic Austrian town. And some did – to delight of the crowd and personal fun
Overall: very well done, Galtür – and we shall back for the next Nordic Night Race, in late March of 2019!